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New Report: 134 Michigan Workers Died, 96,000 Injured on the Job in 2015

Michigan has 48th-lowest penalties for job safety violations

LANSING – A new report from the AFL-CIO shows that the state of Michigan reported 134 workplace fatalities and 96,000 workplace-related injuries and illnesses in 2015. The report, titled Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect, compiles data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2015, the most recent year data is available. The new data was released in advance of Workers Memorial Day, which takes place on April 28 to commemorate workers who have died or suffered illness or injury on the job.

“Everyone deserves to have a safe place to work,” said Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “Even one death in the workplace is too many, and this report shows us that Michigan still has a long way to go to keep people safe on the job.”

According to the report, the average penalty for OSHA violations in Michigan was just $763 in 2016, which ranks 48th-lowest in the country. As of 2017, there are 55 state Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHO) and 1 federal CSHO inspector responsible for inspecting job sites across the entire state of Michigan. Based on the number of job sites in the state, it would take these 56 inspectors 51 years to inspect each workplace in Michigan one time.

“Michigan needs to get its priorities straight,” said Bieber. “Instead of giving more tax breaks to their corporate donors, Governor Snyder and Republicans in the legislature need to focus on improving lives for regular working people, and that includes safer workplaces. We need more inspectors on the beat to enforce our workplace safety laws and hold corporations accountable when they cut corners, break the law, and put workers’ lives at risk.”

Tomorrow, workers in Detroit, Saginaw, Calumet, Hancock, and Marquette will gather at Workers Memorial Day ceremonies to honor those who were hurt or killed on the job. Attendees will also speak out against recent actions taken by the Trump administration to roll back and block regulations that protect workers from serious hazards, like deadly silica dust, chemical explosions, and workplace violence, as well as cuts to the job safety budget.

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